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Surface and Trace Chemical Analysis Group

The Surface and Trace Chemical Analysis Group develops, improves and standardizes analytical techniques used for the elemental, organic, isotopic, radiological, and morphological characterization of surfaces, thin films and particles. Develops novel methods of chemical analysis based on optical microscopy, mass spectrometry, chromatography, ion mobility spectrometry, spectroscopy, autoradiography, nuclear counting, and nuclear track methods

The Surface and Trace Chemical Analysis Group is one of eight groups within the Materials Measurement Science Division. Our group supports the NIST mission in Safety, Security and Forensics with projects ranging from developing and standardizing contraband screening technologies to nuclear particle analysis and forensics. We perform basic research in development of new technologies for the detection of trace particles and thin films on surfaces, sampling, instrument optimization and development of standards.

News and Updates

Projects and Programs

Trace Contraband Detection

This multi-faceted program includes a comprehensive metrology and standards infrastructure to support validation, calibration and optimization of existing


The Surface and Trace Chemical Analysis Group conducts research across various forensic science disciplines. The overall goal is to address measurement science

Glass Analysis

The goal of this focus area is to improve the field of glass evidence analysis by developing new matrix-matched glass standards and by evaluating more objective


Optimization of Confined DART-MS

Edward R. Sisco, Matthew E. Staymates, Thomas P. Forbes
The use of direct analysis in real time mass spectrometry (DART-MS) is seeing increased use in a number of fields, including forensic science, environmental

Press Coverage


Group Leader